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PSO to go solar nationwide

By Javed Mirza
March 16, 2021

KARACHI: Pakistan State Oil (PSO) has decided to use solar energy to power a wide network of its retail outlets, depots and filling facilities around the country as on-grid electricity is an unnecessary burden on its revenues, it was learnt on Monday. The company official said PSO planned to convert its retail outlets and bulk storage facilities on distributed solar generation to minimise dependency on the grid electricity.

“We have invited proposals considering the economics and benefit that may suit an investment model for installation of a combined 25MW solar systems at retail outlets with a potential for additional 10MW for bulk oil storage facilities dotted across the country,” a company official said. “This plan is at its preliminary stage at the moment.”

The government is issuing licence for distributed generation that needs no transmission to grid, produced and consumed onsite, and transmitted when surplus.

PSO will undertake these solar projects on build-operate-transfer investment model. A large number of manufacturing and assembling units in the country are opting for renewable energy (captive) generation to secure uninterrupted supply and cut costs. Earlier, the captive generation was gas-based, but now the gas is a scarce and expensive commodity, so companies are opting for renewable captive generation.

Moreover, the country's largest oil marketing company has already setup an electric vehicle charging station and plans to install two more charging stations this year. “The period spanning 2025-30 would mark the boom of electric vehicles in Pakistan, and PSO is getting ready to meet the demand for charging stations,” the PSO official said.

PSO would install electric vehicle charging points at its existing sites, and turning solar would reduce its dependency on uncertain grid power as well as reduce costs.

PSO is focused on accelerating action on climate change and leading the sustainable energy revolution in Pakistan with the introduction of cleaner fuels.

An analyst said gas shortage, lower costs and commitment to a clean environment are compelling companies to switch to alternate energy resources. Captive renewable energy offers short-term as well as long-term efficiencies while being environment-friendly. Corporate sector should play a leading role in this transition.